Remembering Halabja and Preventing Another Genocide of the Kurds
On March 16, 1988 the dictator Saddam Hussein attacked the Kurdish city of Halabja with mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent sarin. Over 5,000 people lost their lives and 12,000 were permanently impacted.
The international community failed to act against Saddam Hussein in 1988. The Kurdish nation of 40 million people has the right to ensure their protection and be recognized by the international community.
Most recently, the world witnessed our NATO ally Turkey seize Afrin, a Kurdish region in northwest Syria. We were also shocked when American forces withdrew from northeast Syria along the Turkish border last October, forcing our Kurdish allies to make way for Erdogan to expand territory.
It is long overdue for the United States to view Kurds as independent actors separate from the various central governments in Damascus, Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran. It is time for decision-makers in Washington to adopt a policy solely for the Kurds in favor of American and Kurdish national security interests in the Middle East.
The reality is clear: Iraq is unable to control its territories without Iranian interference. In Syria the Assad regime is gaining ground. Therefore, we must be willing to legitimize and recognize the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), our allies in Syria's northeast. In Iran, the regime is responsible for killing Americans through its proxies across the region, we can look towards the 12 million Kurds in the northwest for a peaceful enclave in the country. In Turkey, Erdogan is aligning with Russia's Putin. Erdogan only cozies up with America when he needs us, similar to what recently happened in
American lives do not have to be at risk in the Middle East, but the United States must look beyond the status quo. We've tried keeping Iraq intact and we tried negotiating with the regime in Tehran. Assad's regime is winning whether we like it or not, and Turkey continues to shift towards Russia.
The alternative and rational solution are for America to design a policy that ensures Kurds a greater role in building their future and eventual self-determination. There are tremendous opportunities available that serve both the United States and Kurdistan by the way of political, military, economic cooperation.
In 2015 the House introduced
, which calls on the U.S. government to recognize the campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq. AFK will work to reintroduce this bill to the House and Senate floor in the current Congress.
We understand that the region is fragile, and turmoil can erupt at any given moment, that is why we are working hard to prevent any future atrocities against Kurds and our allies in the region.